How about part of the problem being that ESPN has become a channel that offers coverage of celebrity athletes and the handful of teams in each sport that represent the big cities?
Take baseball: ESPN might as well have been the Jeter network for years. I remember one spring training story — or at least crawl — about how the Yankees were going to play without Jeter because his dog was sick. Something like that, anyway. ESPN is still all about the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers.
Or basketball. If they can talk about LeBron — or, better yet, interview or quote him — they will. Then it’s all Knicks and Lakers coverage for the most part. And sometimes Bulls or Heat.
I got tired of that a few years ago and stopped watching anything but Top Ten and live broadcasts. Unless I’m trapped in a hotel room or dentist’s chair, anyway.